React Native for Windows Desktop/Tablet/Mobile

React + Microsoft

Microsoft announced support for React Native on the Universal Windows Platform at Facebook’s F8 2016. And while this is interesting, it’s not very applicable to me at this point. I just checked and currently this is just a fork and I don’t know if/when it will be merged back into master. This isn’t too surprising considering the recent announcement that Visual Studio would support React Native. Back when I was doing .NET development, Visual Studio was a nice IDE (but I’m much happier on a Mac over Windows). There were also some interesting comments regarding how React is becoming the next Qt that will finally deliver on the promise to provide cross-platform support. Well, technically, it will give you a solution that let’s you “learn once, write everywhere” but not the holy grail of “write once, run everywhere”. In any case, I like seeing React continue to grow and evolve – I not only get to use it in more places (mobile, desktop, web, maybe embedded and/or wearables one day), I also get to talk to more people about it because everyone is using it (but in different ways). So I will continue to support Facebook’s world domination and the continued proliferation of React.

Facebook Releases React v15.0


So the day has finally come and React v15.0 is being released. I talked about this before when the announcement to go from v0.14 to v15.0 was made. It’s been less than 2 months since the announcement was made and here we are. And this isn’t just a version bump announcement, there’s a bunch of updates – unfortunately, some breaking. Here’s the “warning” on upgrading and what to consider:

As usual with major releases, React 15 will remove support for some of the patterns deprecated nine months ago in React 0.14. We know changes can be painful (the Facebook codebase has over 20,000 React components, and that’s not even counting React Native), so we always try to make changes gradually in order to minimize the pain.

If your code is free of warnings when running under React 0.14, upgrading should be easy. The bulk of changes in this release are actually behind the scenes, impacting the way that React interacts with the DOM. The other substantial change is that React now supports the full range of SVG elements and attributes. Beyond that we have a large number of incremental improvements and additional warnings aimed to aid developers. We’ve also laid some groundwork in the core to bring you some new capabilities in future releases.

The full announcement with all the updates, fixes and breaking changes can be found here. I just checked and it appears that v15.0 is now available on NPM. I just started a new project last night, so I’m torn if I should make the jump to v15.0 or if I should continue to use v0.14 and let v15.0 stabilize. I think while I’m trying to get the barebones working, I’ll stick to v0.14 and I’ll upgrade to v15.0 before I release the app. Good luck upgrading everyone.

React Native v0.23.0 Released

Android iOS

A new version of React Native is now available. New features include:

  • Add ability to silence packager logs to stdout – d5445d5
  • Add the possibility to console.error/redbox on promise rejections – f87b673
  • Add more performance logs and improve Systrace support – f6853b8
  • Initial implementation of the Navigator with NavigationExperimental. – fa5783e
  • <Incremental> for incremental rendering – f21da3a
  • Add ability to specify custom left, right components, and title component inNavigationExperimental‘s NavigationHeader. Style the NavigationHeader according to the Platform – 720c76f (Breaking)

I am pretty impressed by the frequency of releases – v0.22.0 was released 17 days ago. So in a little over 2 weeks, 91 contributors made/reviewed/tested 234 commits. Also really happy to see a number of new features and fixes for both Android and iOS – both platforms are continuing to get love and evolve. While I haven’t spent as much time working with RN lately, I know that when I go back to working with RN, there’s going to be a lot of improvements for iOS and Android will be stable and have a lot of examples and support from the community.

NPM Unpublish Policy Update


So I’m not going to rehash the entire controversy that triggered the un-publishing of NPM modules that ultimately broke everyone’s build. Everyone has an opinion of whether is was right or wrong, but the only thing everyone does agree on is that this brought light to a giant flaw with the NPM ecosystem. I’m not going to comment on NPM’s original decision that sparked the controversy but I think their changes in regards to un-publishing modules is pretty logical (it was basically what I came up with in my head) – so the basics rules are now:

  • If the version is less than 24 hours old, you can unpublish it. The package will be completely removed from the registry. No new packages can be published using the same name and version. 
  • If the version is older than 24 hours, then the unpublish will fail, with a message to contact
  • If you contact support, they will check to see if removing that version of your package would break any other installs. If so, we will not remove it. You’ll either have to transfer ownership of the package or reach out to the owners of dependent packages to change their dependency.
  • If every version of a package is removed, it will be replaced with a security placeholder package, so that the formerly used name will not be susceptible to malicious squatting.


  • If another member of the community wishes to publish a package with the same name as a security placeholder, they’ll need to contact  npm will determine whether to grant this request. (Generally, we will.)

So there was a lot of criticism about the changes saying that it doesn’t address the original problem that sparked everything. I’ll give my commentary that while it doesn’t address the pre-cursor to the un-publishing of the modules, it does solve and prevent users from breaking people’s builds so I call that a win for all of us. On a completely separate topic is the question/problem of who owns a package and ultimately, it’s NPM and I will respect their rules because I ultimately benefit form them as an organization and I feel they contribute and make things better overall. So while I was annoyed with the broken builds and could assign blame to a number of parties (well, like 2) – I feel like NPM has made changes to help protect this from happening again so I ultimately am going to move on and focus on more important things (and I think everyone else should too).

React Native FBSDK v0.1.0-alpha Pre-release


So I wasn’t even aware that this existed, but after reading about it, I’m surprised I didn’t come across this sooner. I’ve been using Fabric and I even tried using the built-in Twitter login, but as we all know, no one really uses Twitter to login to apps. At my last company when we introduced social-login, we saw basically almost a 50/50 split between FB and Google and just a couple percent for Twitter. So I’m excited to try out FBSDK to integrate FB login in my next app. Over time, I’ve moved away from implementing my own login system and if possible, just leverage OAuth through a trusted source like FB or Google. And, it was great to hear that the new version of FBSDK adds support for Android. Oh, and the part that I was surprised to see is that this is provided by the Facebook team, also a little surprised that this hasn’t received more attention. I would have thought this would be sold side-by-side with React Native so that every app has built-in FB integration. I’ll post my experience next time.

From the README directly:

React Native FBSDK is a wrapper around the iOS Facebook SDK, allowing for Facebook integration in React Native apps. Access to native components, from login to sharing, is provided entirely through documented JavaScript modules so you never have to call a single native function directly.

Google App Engine and Node.js

Google App Engine

Looks like the Google App Engine team has just announced support for Node.js. I’m glad to see GAE expanding their offering. I tried GAE for a PHP app back when they started supporting PHP and it worked pretty well. The pricing wasn’t great for side-projects, but I’ve heard that has gotten better lately. And while I wouldn’t launch a mission-critical Node app on GAE right now, it’s nice to know their are other options besides AWS. But I will also caution people to GAE, there was a lot of mixed feedback from the crowd over at Hacker News – some raving about GAE and other having horrible experiences. As always, YMMV, so make sure to do your research and test out the different platforms before you go all-in.

And since I mentioned side projects, I’ll definitely make a plug for Digital Ocean and Dokku. For $5 you can create a droplet with 512 MB, 20 GB SSD and 1000 GB transfer which is more than enough for multiple side projects. Since DO supports Dokku images, it’s super easy to spin up a droplet and start deploying apps to your droplet. If you’ve used Heroku, it’s that easy to deploy to Dokku.

Searchkit React UI Components for Elasticsearch


This looks like a really nice UI kit to include search if you’re using React and already have Elasticsearch. Lots of useful components that you can use (or not use) such as Toggle, Select, ItemList, CheckboxItemList, ItemHistogramList, Tabs and TagCloud. The full announcement can be found here. I’m not exactly clear on how customizable the UI is as far as custom styling but it’s a pretty nice start. I also like how you can extend the results list view to basically show whatever you want. And the RangerFilter component is also pretty nice. I’m curious how it handles more than a couple hundred results. I’ll definitely play around with this and put up a quick demo when I have time. If you can’t wait and want to give it a try yourself, go check out the documentation.

React v15.0.0-rc.1 Released


I’m a little late at posting this and I usually don’t post RC announcements, but considering this is the v0 => v15 bump, I figured it was worth mentioning. To be honest, looking through the commits, there isn’t much in this release. Hopefully this means going from v0.14 to v15 will be pretty seamless. Going from v0.13 to v0.14 wasn’t too bad.

This does make me wonder how many apps I have (both personal and work ones) on different version of React right now. A great tool would be something that kept track of all my projects (hopefully active and inactive ones) and reported what versions are being used and if there are updates. Any chance this already exists and I don’t know about it? Or does someone want to build it?

React Native v0.21.0 Released

React Native v0.21.0

I’ve got to say this is probably one of the best images to go with a new release of software. But besides the amazing image, the real new is that React Native v0.21.0 is now available. Lots of new features, but I think the big one is for anyone who is working with Android, the latest update simplified the entire process but in doing so broke some stuff and if you want to upgrade to v0.21.0 and you’re working with Android, you should run:

react-native upgrade

I would recommend running this on a copy of your code before committing anything. I won’t include the full release notes here because they’re pretty long (great work by the team). I do like how they break up the updates into 3 major sections – general new features/bug fixes, Android new features/bug fixes and iOS new features and bug fixes. One feature that caught my eye is the use of ES6 import instead of require in the documentation. This is just interesting to me because at work we’re starting to move towards using ES6 as our standard. The transition has been a bit tough for me, but I’m starting to get the hang of it and not fall back to ES5. Anyways, update your apps and give the latest version a try. I’m still trying to find time to finish my current iOS app, let alone building an Android app – yes, I know I’m so behind.

React.js Fundamentals – Free Online Course on React

React.js Fundamentals

A nice free online tutorial for anyone interested in learning React. According to the comments on the Hacker News thread, Tyler is a great instructor and a cool guy to meet in-person. I liked how the first topics covered are some basic JS fundamentals like Array functions and using the “this” context – all things that can be a little tricky for someone relatively new to JS. And then the actual React topics look good as well, the basic of understanding JSX, unidirectional data flow, props vs state, lifecycle hooks, etc. – all things that will make someone who has used other JS frameworks fall in love with React. And then I see topics for React Router and Webpack which are also super useful. the only topic not covered is Flux/Redux – which I can understand not being in the first course because you really need a good understanding of React before you dive into something like Redux. React Router itself will be challenging enough with the JSX syntax and how things are “magically” passed into the components. I’ll be sharing this with some friends who have asked how they should get started with React.